November 27, 2022

James Brooks was curious what it will have been like if Mini had campaigned the R56 Cooper within the WRC, so he created this stellar JCW monitor automotive construct to reveal simply what a superb thought that might have been…

Characteristic from Efficiency Mini journal. Photographs: DJM images.

Uniqueness is a top quality all of us try for with our undertaking vehicles. Whether or not or not it’s making an attempt new concepts, remixing formulation or doggedly pursuing the offbeat, it’s testomony to the creativity of the scene that we continuously discover such range. And in the event you actually need to do one thing completely different, it solely takes a minor deviation from store-bought off-the-shelf elements earlier than you end up tumbling down a rabbit-hole of home made customized work. Relying on the talent degree of the person, this may go very proper or very, very improper, however it’s secure to say that with James Brooks calling the pictures, this Mini Cooper JCW monitor automotive is in secure palms.

“I spent the final 20 years inventing and promoting tactical thermal imaging cameras to particular forces, and absolutely built-in helmets to the army,” he says, which isn’t a sentence we’ve heard earlier than, “and for fireplace security and private safety on super-yachts for the likes of Roman Abramovich and the Sultan of Brunei – and in addition to Method One groups for his or her pit crews.” Proper. Protected to say he’s fairly well-served within the aforementioned areas of creativity and talent then, and when it got here to this Mini Cooper JCW monitor automotive, James had a transparent thought of what he wished to realize. “I had a considered what would it not be like if Mini had chosen to make use of an R56 to compete within the World Rally Championship,” he causes, “and as no-one had accomplished that or made any elements, I needed to get on with it myself.” Honest sufficient actually, can’t argue with that.

“I reduce out the internal arches,” he continues, “and made the outer spats wider utilizing GRP with Kevlar reinforcement to allow becoming the larger-diameter wheels. The rear wing was a GRP Polo WRC spoiler which got here nowhere close to becoming, so I received out my carbon and Kevlar modelling abilities and got down to make it look how I wished. All of the styling was to swimsuit the look of a WRC automotive; I made the rear diffuser to start with in Kevlar as I wished the total motorsport impact, solely to should remake it in carbon to match the remainder of the carbon elements as people who noticed it stated ‘Sure, the Kevlar seems nice, however it doesn’t match the remainder of the automotive’!”

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This isn’t James’s first crack at modifying a Mini; certainly, his back-catalogue of tasks makes for fascinating studying. Rising up on a farm, he had a number of subject vehicles together with a ’78 Minivan, then moved onto rear-drive Ford Escorts; a few years down the road, after a Sunny GTi-R and a Subaru Impreza 22B amongst others, the primary Mini he purchased was a 2004 R53 Cooper S, the fusion of go-kart dealing with and supercharged energy being merely an excessive amount of to withstand. “I used to be fortunate sufficient to be British Superkart Champion and North-East Dash Champ many moons in the past,” he explains, “and I wished a automotive that I might have enjoyable in and presumably get again to a monitor with. The Mini chassis is so proper for that.”

Mini Cooper JCW track car

So the seeds had been sown, and having purchased, constructed and bought an R56 Cooper S with a little bit of a motorsport really feel, James was eager to select up a JCW that he might actually get caught into as a monitor automotive construct. This explicit John Cooper Works mannequin popped up belonging to a pal’s brother; it had been used as a every day commuter, so it was a bit rough-and-ready within the particulars however mechanically robust, and this made it the proper donor for what James had in thoughts.

Mini Cooper JCW track car

“The very first thing we did was a compression check and leak check on the engine earlier than doing anything, and it was , tight engine to begin,” he says. “Perhaps it had been rebuilt by a earlier proprietor, because it nonetheless makes use of little or no oil and by no means appears to complain given the life it now has! The motor is basically customary JCW however with a head skim and competitors gasket; there’s an Airtec intercooler, Scorpion de-cat into the usual JCW system, and it runs a Turbosystems 03-0163 hybrid able to 300hp. It’s clearly maximising someplace close to that, given its functionality towards a lot stronger vehicles at a current monitor day at Croft!”

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With a stay Stage 3 map by TRW, the various upgrades are definitely doing the enterprise on monitor. After all, there’s much more to circuit prowess than highly effective engines, and the chassis of the Mini Cooper JCW monitor automotive has been comprehensively upgraded to swimsuit. With the preliminary intention being to create a quick highway automotive able to good monitor manners, James fitted ST coilovers and Hardrace adjustable decrease arms so the geometry might be arrange appropriately; Proflex bushes all through and a stable decrease engine mount cut back the kinetic tolerances, and the main focus has been as keenly on type as perform. The wheel alternative took a little bit of head-scratching, as James was eager to discover a multi-spoke wheel in white for that WRC look, and the final word resolution was a set of seven.5×18” ET38 rims by ATS, identical to Mini themselves use in Tarmac spec.

With the rally feel and look now sitting front-and-centre within the gameplan, the cabin was addressed with ruthless effectivity: every little thing superfluous was stripped and binned, together with the air-con, carpets, window glass (changed by light-weight polycarbonate), and the heavy airbag steering wheel, ousted for a lighter, chunkier and gripper merchandise. “I made Kevlar ground trays, together with my very own carbon door playing cards to swimsuit the look,” says James. “A smaller competitors battery was relocated to the boot, and a smaller windscreen washer bottle simply behind the passenger seat. This gave me house within the engine bay and made issues tidier as I went.”

It’s clear all through that type and performance are very a lot on equal pegging, and the degrees of James’s creativeness and craftsmanship are unimpeachable – as may be very a lot in proof with regards to the outside. “I made piping to movement air to the brakes utilizing the house the place the spot lamps would usually be,” he says, “and I wished the bonnet vents to be the identical form and elegance because the WRC ones so I needed to make them by hand, utilizing matt carbon as my completed look – I created many templates earlier than going for it and reducing two holes in my bonnet! The vents have the identical vertical rubber trim as on WRC vehicles; nevertheless, I used window seals which I knew we had spare from my spouse’s greenhouse to get this look! Unsure she is aware of that…”

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The keenness for reducing holes in issues confirmed no indicators of abating, with the entrance bumper comprehensively ventilated, and even a gap chopped into the roof for a practical carbon vent. Lots of gritted tooth alongside the way in which, however the outcomes are uniformly very good. James’s sense of objective was on the forefront all through the construct, creating arguably the final word model of what a Mini Cooper R56 JCW may be, as refracted by way of a WRC filter. The standard and the creativity shine all through, however it’s the individuality that basically makes the construct particular. An absolute weapon on monitor, and a complete stunner to behold as nicely. It’s a disgrace that Mini by no means campaigned the R56 within the WRC. Think about this Mini Cooper JCW monitor automotive powering by way of the slush above Monte Carlo – it’s fairly a picture, isn’t it?

Tech Spec: Mini Cooper JCW Monitor Automobile


1.6-litre turbocharged Prince engine, Airtec intercooler, Turbosystems 03-0163 hybrid turbo, Forge blow-off valve, Scorpion de-cat with OEM JCW exhaust system, Okay&N panel filter in OEM JCW housing, stable decrease engine mount, air-con delete, Stage 3 remap


Approx. 300hp


Six-speed guide gearbox, Coolerworx shifter, Wavetrac LSD


ST X RA coilovers, Hardrace adjustable decrease arms, Proflex bushes
fitted all through


AP four-piston MINI Problem calipers, 330mm C-hook discs, Mintex M1144 pads, Motul 660 fluid, braided strains

Wheels & Tyres:

7.5×18” ET38 ATS StreetRallye wheels with 225/40 Michelin Pilot Sport Cup tyres


Stripped, Sparco Rev 2 seats, Luke harnesses, carbon door playing cards, JP half-cage, OMP 340mm suede steering wheel, repositioned tacho, Kevlar ground trays, flocked sprint, relocated sport and stability controls, Varley light-weight battery in boot


Customized wider arches (with internal arches trimmed), brake ducts fabricated for highlight apertures, customized WRC-style matt carbon bonnet vents, vented entrance bumper, polycarbonate home windows, practical carbon roof vent, carbon bonnet vent, customized rear spoiler